Solar Power Estimator: Simplifying DIY Solar Solutions

Your DIY Guide to the Right Solar, Battery, and Controller Selection

Struggling to power your security cams or other solar devices? Unleash the power of our Solar Estimator, your quick and intelligent solution that magically calculates just what you need for your solar setup.

Technical Explanation

Solar power systems consist of three main components: the battery, the solar panel, and the charge controller. Here’s a condensed explanation of the calculations involved in determining the requirements for each:

Battery Calculation: The battery is where the power from the solar panel is stored for use by the security camera. To calculate the battery size required, we need to determine the total power usage of the security camera in a 24 hour period (measured in Watt-hours, Wh), and divide this by the voltage of the battery (typically 12 or 24 volts). This gives the battery capacity required in Amp-hours (Ah). As a best practice to prolong battery lifespan, we should double this value.

Solar Panel Calculation: The solar panel’s role is to collect sunlight and convert it into power that is stored in the battery. To calculate the size of the solar panel required, we need to know the average “peak sun hours” in the installation area, which represents the equivalent number of hours of maximum solar power the location receives in a day. We divide the total Watt-hours the battery needs to store by this number, and then add a 30% margin to account for losses and variability in sunlight.

Charge Controller Calculation: The charge controller regulates the voltage and current from the solar panel to the battery to prevent overcharging. To select a suitable charge controller, we need to know the maximum output current of the solar panel, which is the “short circuit current”, and the battery voltage. The controller’s current rating should be more than the short circuit current with a safety factor of 1.56 (which includes various de-rating factors), and its voltage rating should match the battery voltage.

After determining the specifications for these three main components, the setup involves wiring them together, setting up the solar panel to receive optimum sunlight, and connecting the power supply to the security camera. With everything in place, your security camera will be powered by the sun, providing a reliable security system without the need for power grid connection or running cables.